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Langer eagles 18th to win first playoff event

By Associated PressOctober 22, 2017, 9:40 pm

RICHMOND, Va. - Bernhard Langer didn't find his putting stroke until it mattered most.

The 60-year-old made an 18-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th hole Sunday to shoot a 2-under 70 and win the Dominion Energy Charity Classic, the first of three event in the PGA Tour Champions' Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs. He beat Scott Verplank by one shot.

Langer was even par for the day before getting to the easiest hole on The Country Club of Virginia's James River Course.

''I was missing so many putts today and finally I made one,'' Langer said after his sixth victory of the season and 35th on the tour for players 50 and older. ''The confidence wasn't that high, to tell you the truth. I had a very similar putt just on 17 that was about 7 or 8 inches left to right and I made a really good stroke but I left it an inch short, or two inches. I was going to make sure I got this one to the hole.''

The victory clinched the top seed in the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix for Langer, and the eagle winner was a career first.

''I think it's only happened one other time in my career when I holed a bunker shot for eagle'' on the final hole to win, he said.


Full-field scores from the Dominion Charity Classic


The final putt broke from left to right, and Langer said he aimed about 8 inches left of the hole, but didn't know it was in until it dropped.

''You never know until it goes in,'' he said. "It's just as simple as that because it wasn't a straight putt.''

Verplank, playing two groups ahead of Langer, shot a bogey-free 6-under 66 to erase a five-shot deficit, but missed birdie putts on the 17th and 18th holes. The putt on 17 was from about 30 feet and was online but stopped about an inch short. On 18, his effort from about 5 feet slid by the hole.

''I had a chance to be better than I was so I've got no one to blame but myself,'' Verplank said. ''I just hit kind of a bad putt.''

Langer's six victories are a career high, and his 35 victories are second on the tour, trailing only Hale Irwin's 45.

''He obviously plays with supreme confidence and he's won so many times,'' Verplank said. ''He's a great champion.''

Billy Mayfair (65), Kenny Perry (65) and Vijay Singh (71) tied for third at 12 under. Singh made three birdies on his first six holes to briefly grab a share of the lead at 14 under, but he gave all three back with a trio of bogeys and didn't make another birdie until the finishing hole.

Langer became the second player on the tour for players 50 and older to make eagle on the final hole to win by a shot this season. Scott McCarron, who won this event last year, did it at the Allianz Championship in Boca Raton, Florida, leap-frogging Carlos Franco and Kenny Perry.

The playoff field was cut from 72 to 54 for the PowerShares QQQ Championship next week in Thousand Oaks, California. The top 36 will advance to Phoenix.

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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.